Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Commorragh Phase 5: Shadowplay

Commorragh has been lying fallow for a little bit, so I think it’s worth another visit and for me to unearth another half-baked idea from the ‘wouldn’t it be cool?’ files.  In this edition, the idea is lighting conditions.  This is a bit of an odd thing and could be very hard for me to implement, but in the Dark City (clue’s in the name folks!) I can imagine shadows and darkness playing a major role in tactics and execution of many Kabal skirmishes.  Whether it’s hiding from enemy fire, setting up sneaky ambushes or having you face bitten off by a hired Mandrake, darkness can be both a strength and a weakness in game, but always a factor.

The rough idea would be that several areas on the table would be classed as ‘Dark’ or ‘Shadowed’ or maybe ‘Sable’ if we’re getting needlessly poetic.  Darkness would provide handy protective points for the players to use and would add a little bit atmosphere and colour to the board.  If deployed into at the beginning of a skirmish (say as an ambush mission or something) they would be the equivalent of secret deployment.  The ambusher would note which dark areas his guys were deployed in secretly and not place the models on the board.

Sight into darkness would be quite simple to enact, I think, relying mainly on Initiative values of the models looking, so a Kabalite would see further than a human slave and so on.  This would encourage players to move their guys closer to check a darkened area for targets, potentially leaving them vulnerable.  Darkness would give a -1 modifier to hit at range as well I reckon (or something like that).  Options for firing blind into darkness would be open, but only for certain weapons or units.  A splinter rifle, for example, is a precision weapon and lacks the rate of fire for a ‘spray and pray’ approach to clear an ambush point.  Splinter cannons or Shredders, however would be perfect for the role.  Obviously large penalties would be involved when trying to hit someone you cannot see.  I’m thinking a flat roll of 6s to hit regardless of statline (Shredders would probably be relegated to D6 shots rather than a Blast for the purposes of blind fire).  However, in order to keep the secret deployment secret, you would roll to wound on every hit, regardless of whether or not anyone was actually in there.  This introduces a certain level of bluffing into the game, which I quite like.

It also brings an interesting element to some of the units.  Mandrakes for example (being semi-shadow-demon-things themselves) would have added bonuses to working in shadow and penalties for working in light areas.  One of the key shadow advantages for these guys would probably be the ability to teleport from one shadowed location to another to enact their grisly mandates.  There’s a fair amount of talk in the background to Mandrakes being able to materialise out of the shadows to prey on the unwary.  I think this would translate very nicely in-game.  I picture this working in a ‘secret deployment’ style as well.  At the beginning of the Mandrake’s movement the owning player would elect to use ‘fading into the shadows’ (or something like that), remove the Mandrake from the board and note down which darkened area the Mandrake would appear in next movement phase.  This again opens up the options for mind games and bluffing, as well as a relative test of nerve for the opponent.  Does he get all his guys out of the darkness to avoid getting surprised by a balefiring lunatic?  Does stay the course and keep all his guys where they are, confident in the knowledge that you can’t kill them all?  Or does he believe that he knows where you’ll strike and only move those key units out of danger?

There are many possibilities here, my (imaginary) friends…

And I’m enjoying them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you familiar with an article in an old online fanatic where they had rules for using shadows in games of inquisitor? It involved setting up a lamp and creating your own shadows which could work well for this if you take that opproch.

For simplicity you could just have all areas within 3" of a wall count as shadow!